On the Couch with Leah Baulch

Leah Baulch AAR On the CouchWho is Leah Baulch?
I’m an actor and work on stage and screen. My passion is to create characters or pieces that deliver a sucker punch, and I tend to draw the big themes: love, loss, betrayal, desire. I also instigate creative projects when I have the means to do so; in the past few years I’ve spearheaded plays, films and screenings, and I’m currently working on a resource to assist actors, directors and other creatives for times when they get stuck.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
I’d spend more time song-writing, which has been a past-time of mine since I was about nine. Every now and then you’ll find me bashing away on the piano or guitar, scratching out and scrawling down lyrics to a song. My bucket list includes recording an album of finished tracks and I’m keen to one day check out Nashville.

Who inspires you and why?
It’s ever evolving. A few years ago I did lots of research into Patti Smith for a show. I fell in love with Patti’s artistic philosophy and her history of being a young artist in New York City. Her resilience and propensity to just keep putting one foot in front of the other to get her work done, and to talk about keeping to your daily dues has been a great source of inspiration to me – generally I don’t think society absorbs the stories of artists just keeping at their practice for long periods of time or until they get some mastery over it.

Probably for this reason the acting coaches I’ve worked with in 2017 – Paul Barry and Penelope Chater – come to mind as well – they both have international careers and remind me that what we can achieve is limitless.

I’m also continuously inspired by my fellow actors. If you’ve never been to a really great acting class where someone hits it out of the park, I highly recommend it. It gives me an energy I’ve not experienced anywhere else.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I’m always drawn to helping others live out their artistic visions and putting my own into action. I think there are exciting things in our bodies and subconscious that are telling us the next steps. I like to be apart of realising that process.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Somewhere where the air is fresh, a fire can be lit, and I can see the stars. Bliss.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
I live in Melbourne and I’m always falling in love with new places depending on where I’m working at the time. I’ll always try to add in a cocktail at Double Happiness near Chinatown – it’s just a bit of a tradition. However, if the David Bowie exhibition were a staple at ACMI, that would be the number 1 destination.

What are you currently reading?
I recently finished Bryan Cranston’s A Life in Parts, which has interrupted me reading the next book on my list because I had to watch Breaking Bad from start to finish. I’d never watched it before.

What are you currently listening to?
A compilation of songs made by a director I worked with in my 20’s. It’s pretty cool; Stan Rogers, Tom Waits, KD Lang are among the artists he programmed, and, to my surprise, some of the songs we used in the show. I’ve been waiting years to listen to this CD – I found it recently after bought a second hand car fitted with a CD/MP3 player. Winning!

Happiness is?
Laughing with people I love over dinner.

What does the future hold for you?
I’m currently trawling through interviews and stories from Aussie women and their perspective of HIV/AIDS in preparation for We Were There – a verbatim theatre piece devised by Tilted Projects.

It’s a special one for me – I love being a part of projects in the independent space because I believe it’s the stuff tomorrow’s classics are made of. But it’s also that I’m inspired by the dedication of director Dirk Hoult and writer Gavin Roach in creating this project and their company – they have a series of projects slated which both are interesting and important and are tackling big subjects that need to be given full value.

In We Were There, we hear from women who have HIV/AIDS, women who supported someone they love with the virus or others who have been working in the medical or research sector. It’s a glorious collection and I’m humbled by the story of every woman who has been interviewed for this project.

I’m also in the embryo phase of a screen project, Bridgette, which will be produced by CutRush Creative. Both these projects excite me. To have women’s voices front and centre, we are creating the future and have a responsibility to get it right. This is a terrific time to be an artist in Melbourne. I’m grateful.

We Were There will play at Chapel Off Chapel as part of the 2018 Midsumma Festival from 23 January. For more information, visit: www.tiltedprojects.com for details.

Image: Leah Baulch (supplied)